Godfather, The

Featured In Issue 136, November 2008

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Paramount Home Entertainment
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Violence and Language
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Four-Disc Set: BD-50/BD-25
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Not Indicated
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Francis Ford Coppola
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1
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In 1972, Francis Ford Coppola's gangster drama, The Godfather, won three of its ten Academy Award® nominations—Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. Based on Mario Puzo's novel, Marlon Brando stars as Don Corleone, patriarch of a powerful Sicilian clan that ruled organized crime in 1940's America. Al Pacino stars in his career-making role as Michael, Corleone's youngest son and heir to the power within the family.

All the feature films contain audio commentary tracks by Francis Ford Coppola. The Supplemement Discs (Discs Four and Five) contain all special features and are mislabled. Disc Four is labeled as containing the 2001 archival supplements, but indeed it actually has the "All-New 2008 Supplements," which include the following featurettes: "Godfather World" (11 minutes), "The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn't" (30 minutes), "...When The Shooting Stopped" (14 minutes), Emulsional Rescue Revealing The Godfather (19 minutes), and "The Godfather On The Red Carpet" (four minutes); Four Short Films On The Godfather, which include "G.F. vs. GF Part II" (two minutes), "Riffling On The Riffling" (two minutes), "Cannoli" (two minutes), and "Clemenza" (two minutes); and the list 2008 credits for the all-new supplements. Disc Five is mislabeled as containing the new 2008 supplements but instead features the "2001 Archival Supplements," which are divided into chapters. The chapter "Behind The Scenes" contains the following featurettes: "A Look Inside" (73 minutes), "Francis Ford Coppola's Notebook" (10 minutes),"Coppola & Puzo On Screenwriting" (Eight Minutes), and "Gordon Willis On Cinematography" (four minutes); Storyboards for Godfather Part II and for Part III; a vintage featurette "The Godfather Behind The-Scenes 1971" (nine minutes); "On Location" still frame containing text only; and profiles on Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola, both of whom contributed to the "Music Of The Godfather." The "Filmmakers" chapter contains still profiles of six filmmakers who contributed to the three films; The "Galleries" chapter contains a photo gallery, trailers, another photo gallery of "Rogues," and an "Acclaim & Response" gallery containing a listing of all the awards garnered by "The Godfather" franchise, along with a TV spot; a Corleone Family Tree; and 34 deleted scenes.In addition to the same special features as on the DVD, Blu-ray™ exclusive features include an interactive " Crime Organization Chart," "Connie And Carlo's Wedding Album" and a photo gallery.

While the anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD is a noticeable improvement over the previously released DVD (Issue 55), it still has its issues. Resolution is improved, but, unlike other recently released catalog titles of a similar age, it still appears soft and dated. Black levels are improved but still slightly elevated. Shadow delineation has been improved greatly, with the near-black detail easily discerned. The greatest improvement of this release, though, is in the cleaning of the source element, with dirt and hair completely removed. It is a very clean picture in this regard. Contrast has been improved, with brighter whites (and no blooming). Outdoors, though, the image can still appear washed out. Colors are more naturally saturated, and the color scheme maintains the almost sepia-toned look of the original. Compression artifacts can be recognized at times, but edge enhancement has been toned down greatly. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc looks very good for the age of the film, with sharp details and a fairly dimensional appearance. Black levels are still slightly elevated, but this picture looks much better in high-definition. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack features a nicely mixed front stage, with good phantom imaging and easily distinguished images across it. The surround channels are fairly limited, but the split surround information does help create a believable soundstage at times. The LFE channel is generally subdued when used, although it can be impactful at times. Bass is defined well, sounding full and natural. Fidelity is improved, sounding much newer than it is, but there are effects that are distractingly dated sounding. Dialogue sounds much more realistic, with better articulation and fullness. Dynamics are also improved, with low-level detail more easily audible. The noise floor is also very low, and distortions are generally less audible. The Blu-ray Disc's lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding is superb, with a low noise floor and fluid fidelity. The mix is still rather limited, and there are times when dynamic range is compressed and fidelity is noticeably dated. Otherwise, the audio was restored well. (Danny Richelieu)